Toys of the Decades – 1950s: Barbie, Mr. Potato Head


Every day this week, News 4 This Morning is taking a look back at a pair of popular toys from decades past.

Mr. Potato Head first came about in the early 1950s, the invention of a man named George Lerner. The first toy ever advertised on television, it originally was only body parts—ears, hands, and the like—for children to attach to a real potato. A year after its original release, Mrs. Potato Head was released. There were other Potato Head family members introduced as well, but they would later be discontinued. It wasn't until the mid 1960s that the plastic body that the toy is known for became a part of the playset. Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head played a prominent role in the Disney/Pixar Toy Story series of animated feature films. In 2000, Mr. Potato Head was added to the National Toy Hall of Fame.

The original Barbie doll was created by Ruth Handler, after she was inspired by another doll created in Germany. It was first released in the United States in March of 1959, and available in both brunette or blonde with a black and white striped swimsuit. Barbie has since been a massive success not only in the United States, but across the world. The dolls have a massive collector's market, as numerous versions have been released—in themes ranging from careers, TV characters, popular products and much more. There have also been numerous tie-ins in entertainment from a comic book to original animated features and appearances in the Disney/Pixar Toy Story series.


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